Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a weekly columnist and senior writer for The American Prospect. He also writes for the Plum Line blog at The Washington Post and The Week and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

What's Still True in the Wake of the Orlando Massacre

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Sunday, June 12, 2016. W henever there's a terrorist attack in a Western country, no matter the size or scope, there's an impulse to conclude that things are, or will be, different now. The attack has demonstrated that what we thought was true no longer is, or it will fundamentally change what will happen from this point forward. That conclusion is usually wrong. While we're trying to understand what happened and why, we should remind ourselves of what's still true when it comes to terrorism, guns, and our safety: ISIS can still inspire people anywhere in the world, despite its setbacks on the battlefield . While the U.S.-led coalition is unquestionably making progress against ISIS—taking back territory the group had won, disrupting their financing, and so on—the group will be able to create propaganda and recruit sympathizers almost...

Why There Will Be More Violence During This Campaign

AP Photo/Noah Berger
AP Photo/Noah Berger A man leaving a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump squares off against protesters following him on Thursday, June 2, 2016, in San Jose, California. A group of protesters attacked Trump supporters who were leaving the presidential candidate's rally in San Jose on Thursday night. A dozen or more people were punched, at least one person was pelted with an egg and Trump hats grabbed from supporters were set on fire on the ground. T he 2016 election may not quite be turning into a repeat of 1968, but the tension is certainly rising. Just as the violence around Donald Trump's rallies seemed to abate, it has now returned, in a widening circle of chaos. And now people outraged by Trump are getting in on the action; last Thursday outside a Trump rally in San Jose, Trump supporters were hit with eggs and fists, leading to some blood being spilled and people being arrested. Prominent Democrats everywhere condemned the incident, including...

"Never Trump!" Is Becoming "Go Trump!" in the Blink of an Eye

(Photo: AP/picture-alliance/Chris Kleponis)
(Photo: AP/picture-alliance/Chris Kleponis) GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives for a metting with House Speaker Paul Ryan at the National Republican Congressional Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on May 12. W e used to think of the Republican Party as the one that valued unity, conformity, a disparate coalition of interests and advocates all coming together to sing in a harmonious chorus, particularly as Election Day approached. It was the Democrats who were fractured, contentious, and incapable of common action; the cliched headline "Dems In Disarray!" was mocked, but it was often true. Then came the Obama years, when the Republican Party rent itself asunder, the conflict between its cringing establishment and its angry base becoming the defining dynamic of the era. And it culminated in the party making a vulgarian buffoon its choice for president, a man whose combination of naked bigotry, epic ignorance, and ideological shape-shifting led large portions of...

Spare a Thought For Those Condemned to Defend Donald Trump

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus answers questions from The Associated Press about Thursday's face-to-face meeting between Donald Trump, the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Friday, May 13, 2016, at RNC headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington. T here's a perfectly logical reason why any Republican would decide that getting behind Donald Trump is the least bad option they face. If you genuinely care about conservative policy goals, the chance that you'll see the government move in your favored direction under President Hillary Clinton is approximately zero, while with President Trump you'd at worst see many of those goals come to fruition. You'd get a conservative Supreme Court, an executive branch filled with Republicans, and probably many areas where Trump, who plainly doesn't care at all about the details of policy, just tells the congressional GOP to write whatever bills it...

Donald Trump Is a New Kind of Dissembler

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Spokane, Washington, Saturday, May 7, 2016. M ost partisans would probably tell you that while their own party's leaders sometimes get a fact wrong here or there, the other side is a bunch of blatant liars, whose contempt for the truth leaves the public in a perpetual cloud of misinformation. We don't have to settle who's right on this question to acknowledge that in politics, there are ordinary tale-tellers and then there's Donald Trump. As he has in so many ways, Trump has upended the usual operation of politics by refusing to play by its rules, written or not. The presumption that politicians should at least try to speak the truth as often as they can is something most everyone shares, whether Democrats, Republicans, or the news media that cover them. It's that presumption that establishes a basic set of behaviors for all concerned—for instance, that news media will call out lies from...